Having passed one test last week in a 13-7 win against Elko, the Carson High football team now faces another formidable challenge against Bishop Manogue Saturday in Reno.
The Senators (2-0) will play on the road for the first time and they will take on traditionally strong Manogue (0-1) in an afternoon game scheduled to kick off at 1:30.
"This is going to be a good challenge," Carson coach Shane Quilling said. "They're pretty solid. They're solid up front with the O-line and D-line and they don't make a lot of mistakes. The kids are excited about playing this game and they're excited about playing on turf. We have good speed, so hopefully we can take advantage of that."
The Miners are coming off a 46-24 loss in their season opener last week against Hug. Carson beat Elko, but only after scoring two second-half touchdowns, the last on quarterback Chris McBroom's 2-yard touchdown run with 58 seconds left.
The game-winner came after Elko missed two field goals in the fourth quarter - from 50 and 49 yards - and then McBroom's 67-yard run around right end to the 6.
The score was closer than it should have been, according to Quilling.
"We really didn't execute very well on offense last week," he said. "We were inside their 40 nine times and only scored twice. It wasn't any one thing that hurt us, it was a combination of a lot of little things. Bottom line is, you're not going to beat good teams if you don't execute."
The Senators were scoreless through one half against Elko. The turning point came early in the second half when the Senators got the ball for their first possession and mounted a 14-play drive that covered 56 yards and took six minutes off the clock. They didn't score - turning the ball over on downs after McBroom slipped and fell while dropping back to pass on fourth down - but the tempo for the second half was set.
Carson's defense came up big on the next play when Kaleb Kondor sacked Elko quarterback Kade Anderson for a 12-yard loss. Eric Walther threw Taylor Porter for a 1-yard loss on second down, Anderson then completed a pass for 8 yards and the Indians were forced to punt.
Bryan Maffei found running room on the punt return and rambled 38 yards to the Elko 21. Two plays later, Maffei took a toss around his right end and cut back across the field for a 19-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7.
Defense has played a big role in Carson's two wins because the Senators have given up 14 points on two touchdowns - both scored in the first half. Moapa Valley scored after a blocked punt and Elko's touchdown was delivered by its defensive unit on a fumble return. The Senators have given up 49 yards rushing and 150 yards passing in two games. They've also recorded eight quarterback sacks.
Manogue will be the best offensive team the Senators have faced to date. For starters, the Miners feature talented quarterback Cody Manguso, who threw for 908 yards earned second-team all-league honors in 2004, even though he sustained a season-ending injury in the next-to-last week of the regular season.
"Their quarterback throws the ball extremely well and they do a good job protecting him," Quilling said. "They're going to be a challenge, but I think it's a challenge our D is up to meeting."
Elko did drive into Carson territory three times in the fourth quarter, but was denied each time - twice when long field goal attempts went wide and the last on Ryan Jesse's interception with 20 seconds remaining.
Carson will have two starters out with injuries - wide receiver Scott Witter with an ankle injury and kicker Matt Mitchell with a broken elbow.
"Matt got his cast off, but we're still waiting to see if he can get cleared," Quilling said.
Johnny Hazeltine, a junior, was 1-for-2 in the PAT department last week, the one failed attempt the result of a mishandled snap, and he missed a 37-yard field goal attempt.
The punting chores were again handled by sophomore Steve Sawyers, who punted six times for a 34.5-yard average. He had back-to-back punts in the first half that covered 45 and 48 yards.
Note: The game will be broadcast on radio KHIM 920 AM Immaculate Heart Radio, which covers Manogue games with Chris Healy calling play-by-play.
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